June 23, 2016—Americans are spending billions out-of-pocket for chiropractic services and other complementary health approaches, indicating they see value in their investments, according to authors of a new report by NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Substantial numbers of Americans spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on these approaches, an indication that users believe enough in the value of these approaches to pay for them,” noted Richard L. Nahin, PhD, NCCIH’s lead epidemiologist and lead author of the expenditures analysis, which was conducted with data collected from a special supplement to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.
According to the 2012 survey, Americans spent 14.7 billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary practitioners such as doctors of chiropractic, acupuncturists or massage therapists. They also spent about $12.8 billion on natural products supplements (a quarter of what they spent out-of-pocket on prescription drugs).
With respect to chiropractic, NCCIH/CDC findings show that 8.4 percent of U.S. adults (about 19.4 million) used chiropractic or osteopathic services (spinal manipulation) in 2012, which was consistent with 2007 data. There was an increase in chiropractic/osteopathic services for children, however, with about 3.3 percent of American children (or 1.9 million) receiving treatment in 2012 – compared with 2.8 percent of children in 2007. Chiropractic was the most frequently used of the complementary services for children, followed by yoga, meditation and massage therapy.
“This survey shows the value the American public places on the effectiveness of chiropractic services for themselves and their families,” said David A. Herd, DC, president of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). “Doctors of chiropractic are consistently rated high in patient satisfaction surveys because people appreciate their patient-centered, conservative drug-free approach to health care.”